CT advances in the optimisation of additive technologies in the ADDHOC R&D project.

CT successfully completes the second phase of the ADDHOC project, which consists of developing a new family of digital tools, CAx, to introduce new metallic additive technologies in industrial sectors with mechanical highly customised short series requirements.

From its Bilbao office, CT leads this Basque R&D initiative, which has already entered the development and fine-tuning phase of calculation and simulation tools, CAE.

CT presents the progress of the second year of work on the ADDHOC R&D initiative, related to the development of simple programming tools, CAD, and of parts focused on DED technologies (WAAM and LMD).

The CT team and its consortium partners are closer to achieving ADDHOC’s goals and to offering a solution for custom manufacturing of metal parts for applications with high mechanical performance, short manufacturing runs, and customised geometries using additive manufacturing technologies.

Marc Abellán, FEA/CAE engineer, explains that they have managed to “solve certain limitations of the Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing (WAAM) technique, a directed energy deposition process in which an electric arc welding source is used to continuously melt and deposit a filler material in the form of wire”.

The project exploits the opportunities of this technology that drastically reduces material costs (up to 10 times less than the same alloy in other powder additive manufacturing systems) and simplifies handling. The process can also be carried out on robotic cells and conventional automatic welding systems, which minimises investment and training costs.

However, it has some limitations, which mainly lie in the need to carry out a final machining of the part due to the near-net-shape obtained and in the control of stresses and distortions that are generated especially in massive parts.

“Due to this limitation, our main objective and progress has been the optimisation of the heat treatments necessary prior to manufacturing to achieve a good balance of properties and thereby eliminate or minimise residual stresses, all of which has been achieved with ANSYS Workbench software by performing a thermomechanical analysis”, adds Marc Abellán.

Future objectives are to carry out:

  • a study of the structural integrity (fatigue life, fracture, creep, and corrosion) of the manufactured parts,
  • a process and CAD/CAM tools simulation for the automatic manufacture of 2.5D (2D sections extruded along the z-axis) and 3D parts,
  • the reduction of material consumption by 70% to 90% by developing advanced deposition strategies to reduce the required machining allowances and minimise distortions of the manufactured parts”,

In this project, CT’s team of experts, led by Cecilia de la Fuente, contributes the know-how obtained in the Haritive project, and is responsible for the development of dynamic CAD/CAM/CAE through the integration of process data in the initial theoretical calculations, as well as the development of software environments based on Big Data and Machine Learning strategies.

The initiative responds to several technological and market aspects, such as a growing demand for precision and quality of machined parts, increasingly demanding lead times and production times, and the much desired reduction of manufacturing costs in medium-high added value processes.

The consortium led by CT is formed by multidisciplinary companies with extensive experience in high deposition additive manufacturing projects acquired in previous Hazitek calls (HARITIVE, HARIPLUS, WAAMTOOL), including: ADDILAN, Donosti Soldadura, AIPC, ABD Compressors, Tecnalia Research and Innovation and the University of the Basque Country, as a collaborating entity.

ADDHOC is part of “Smart Industry”, one of the three strategic priorities included in the new “2030 Basque Science, Technology and Innovation Plan” (PCTI Euskadi 2030). The project is part of the Support Program for Business R&D – Hazitek, co-funded by the Basque Government and the European Union through the European Regional Development Fund 2021-2027 (ERDF).

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